Top 10 independent cafes in Leeds

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

Have you been to Leeds?

We’re based in this great Northern city and if you’ve been on our Instagram page, you’ll notice that we like to feature some of the amazing independent businesses in the city.

We love heading out into the city for a hearty brew and a slice of something sweet, or savoury… or just anything to be honest.

While there are too many great places to count, here are our top ten cafes in Leeds.

Olive & Rye

Tucked away in the lovely Queens Arcade in the city centre, Olive & Rye breathes Leeds. All of their food is made from locally sourced ingredients. Not content on just offering coffee, Olive & Rye serves up scrumptious cakes as well as an all-day everyday menu for brunch and lunch alike.

They also have a full drinks license which means you can even treat yourself to a cheeky tipple or two with your meal. Espresso Martini with breakfast – anyone?

Café 164

If you’re coming into Leeds by bus, Café 164 is just over the road from the hustle and bustle of the bus station. Not only does this make it a great stop for commuters but it’s also near the Victoria Quarter shopping centre for those who need a coffee-stop in between their browsing.

Café 164 bake their own bread every day which is used to make all of their sandwiches – you can’t get any fresher than that. Plus, leftover sandwiches from the day are donated to local food and homeless charities.

Lux Vegan Cakes

Just outside the city centre in Kirkstall, Lux Vegan Cakes is ready to serve you a whole host of vegan desserts. To look at, you wouldn’t have a clue any of their treats are vegan. From brownies and cakes to milkshakes and their funky cousin, freakshakes – Lux Vegan Cakes has it all.

You can either sit in their café or you can order for collection or delivery. So, if you’re planning a party or a coffee catch-up with mates, you should definitely check these guys out.

Coffee on the Crescent

Just down the road from Leeds University and on the edge of Hyde Park you’ll find Coffee on the Crescent.

Not only do they sell some of the best coffee from roasters based right here in Leeds, but they serve it up too. Masters of the foam art, coffees here look as though they were made solely for Instagram. So, make sure your phone is charged to get a few cheeky snaps before you take your first sip.

Coffee on the Crescent also offers some incredible pastries including croissants, cinnamon swirls and the ever-popular cruffin (croissant and muffin hybrid). Oh, they sell craft beer too and, you guessed it, they are all from local breweries.

Mrs Atha’s

Right in the heart of Leeds, Mrs Atha’s is a firm favourite among locals. The thing that you first notice when you see Mrs Atha’s in the gorgeous cakes and desserts in the front window.

With fabulous presentation of all their food and drink, you’ll find it difficult not to reach for your phone to take a few arty shots while no one is looking. The whole experience couldn’t be any more aesthetically pleasing – trust us.

With a definite rustic and slightly hipster vibe, in a good way, Mrs Atha’s is an absolute must for anyone wanting a good spot for breakfast, lunch or a quick coffee.

Just Grand!

For a true afternoon tea experience, look no further than Just Grand!

Found in the Grand Arcade and next to the bustling nightlife of Merrion Street is this sweet little tearoom. With a quintessentially British theme, this vintage café is every afternoon tea lover’s dream.

Fine china cups and plates are teamed up with adorable teapots complete with knitted tea cosies and traditional cake stands. The whole look of the café is so charming and is totally unique.

Just Grand! will serve you classic lunches such as sandwiches and soups as well as an array of sweet afters likes cakes and traybake's. Also, the service here is always excellent and the menu is very reasonably priced!

Laynes Espresso

Right around the corner from Leeds train station is Laynes Espresso. Their modern, minimalist interior makes for the perfect atmosphere for a coffee date with your mates. Don’t be fooled by its super trendy appearance, it’s still independently owned and run so you can rest assured you’re supporting a local business.

With a range of sweet temptations baked by a local company, you’re not short of choice when it comes to an accompanying cake or pastry to go with your coffee. They also serve lunch including sandwiches, plates of pasta and your classic brunch staple pieces like poached eggs and pancakes.

Tiled Hall Café

Just inside Leeds Art Gallery is the stunning Tiled Hall Café.

You don’t have to have visited the art gallery to go to the café, although we would highly recommend you do. The architecture is beautiful and makes for the ideal city centre stop for a cup of tea or coffee and a break from the busy streets.

They also serve a small food menu which includes jacket potatoes and toasties which is great if you’re just looking for something cheap and cheerful.

Fleur Café

You honestly can’t get a better Instagram spot than Fleur Café.

Inside, you’ll feel as though you’ve sat in a blossom garden thanks to the pretty flowers that climb the walls and hang from the ceiling. It’s safe to say you won’t be short of places to get a selfie or group pic of you and your girlfriends.

The food served is just as classy and honestly, you’ll be living your influencer alter-ego in this place. Putting themselves in the running to become the next best destination for a girly brunch should be easy for Fleur, especially with their cocktail and wine menu.

Kitty Café

No, it’s not just a cute name, this café literally is filled with cute cats.

After opening a couple of years ago, Kitty Café has become a staple piece of Leeds’ café culture. What could make a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of cake better? We’ll tell you what, a whole bunch of cats sitting on your lap – that’s what.

Don’t worry, the café is super hygienic providing you with food and drink coverings to stop the little cuties nipping at your food and drink.

As if it couldn’t be any better, the cats here are also up for adoption. So, don’t worry if you get attached to one or two of the little floof's, you can take them home with you!

Although there are three other Kitty Café’s in the UK, we couldn’t not mention these guys on the list. Don't look at that paw print hot chocolate and majestic cat and tell us it's not adorable.

There you have it, our top ten cafes in Leeds. Have you been to any of these or are you now planning to - maybe you're waiting for lockdown to ease? Let us know!